Several Senators — we’ve heard Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) — have taken to the Senate floor today in anticipation of tomorrow’s vote on the DISCLOSE Act. Sen. Whitehouse is being especially extreme in his attacks, calling the Supreme Court a “radical group,” making accusations about “corruption” and money laundering, and now claiming that the court has “opened the floodgates to foreign corporations” to “drown out American voters” and buy elections.
Sean Parnell at the Center for Competitive Politics has been watching the Senate speeches, too, and given his detailed knowledge of the legislation and the politics involved, we’ll allow him to correct the falsehoods.
Listening to them speak, it’s become even more clear than ever that not only are the Senate advocates of the DISCLOSE Act wrong (a subjective opinion, of course, although one we can amply defend) but they are almost completely ignorant of what this legislation would do, what current law on the subject is, and what the court ruled in Citizens United.
All of the things being said that are simply factually incorrect, at least all that I heard, have been covered by us here at CCP repeatedly in the past. The plainly false statements include:
- Foreign corporations are now free to fund election ads (they aren’t)
- Citizens United overturned a 100-year old law (it didn’t)
- The DISCLOSE Act is “just” disclosure (it’s much more)
This is just a brief sampling of the transparently inaccurate statements made by Democratic Senators on the floor so far today regarding the DISCLOSE Act, and doesn’t even begin to address things like the claim that a bill that prohibits more than half the largest companies in the country from speaking without limiting a single union somehow represents a fair and even-handed treatment of the business and labor communities.
What’s so astonishing is that the Senate supporters of the bill believe (or claim to believe) that the American public wants Congress to act on this legislation, supposed campaign finance reform that is really an attack on the First Amendment.
We believe the public would prefer to see the Senate consider measures to strengthen the economy, keep tax rates under control, and improve U.S. competitiveness.
Note — 4:30 p.m. corrected the state designation for Sen. Whitehouse.